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Runaway Yellowstone Llama has dental surgery

DENVER – Remember Ike the Runaway llama who was on the lam in Yellowstone National Park for three months last year?

He made his way out of Llamas, which rents out the pack animals to tourists. But he was not in the clear. On Tuesday, nearly 11 months after leaving the park, he brought him to Fort Collins to take care of his escapades: A major toothache.

"He wanted to get out of a situation that was painful," said Susi Hülsmeyer-Sinay, Yellowstone Llamas owner, renamed him Lewis.

Lewis and crew dragged to Colorado from their home in Bozeman, Montana, this week because of Colorado State University's James L's status Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. It's famous, and non-famous, animals get treated. Country music singer Tanya Tucker took her dog Kona there when a tumor in his heart was discovered. The hospital treated the bucket-puppy with a heart condition (although he died during open heart surgery). And it helped Marley the grizzly bear from Georgia who suffered from two broken elbows. [The Coloradoan has a slideshow of other CSU-treated animals.]

Lewis ̵

1; named for Lewis Lake, where it was found – is right up there, at least when it comes to notoriety, the Colorado Sun reported.

An abscess in his mouth likely had bothered Lewis for years before he checked in for a mid-morning surgery at CSU. Just like in human beings, at abscess is a buildup of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. It usually comes from a bacterial infection. No one knows when Lewis got it, but Hülsmeyer-Sinay said he had loosened his lover.

His original owner Kirstin Baty told The Jackson Hole News & Guide harness to ease the discomfort. But in the summer of 2018, he "slipped out of the holder completely because he's sneaky and he knows he can," Baty told the News & Guide.

Last October, with winter approaching, Hülsmeyer-Sinay could not stand it anymore. Lewis got out of the park.

"We always follow our little group of llamas on his own free." We never put a line on him. she said. Lewis, Hülsmeyer-Sinay took him to the vet and Lewis what put on antibiotics.

Lewis did not show that in pain.

"They are so stoic predators, "Hülsmeyer-Sinay said while in the operating room.

As a member of the Rocky Mountain Llama and Alpaca Association, Hülsmeyer-Sinay was already familiar with CSU and its reputation for treating animals.

"Because of my association with a lot of llama people in Colorado, I know a lot of them bring them here," she said. Colorado is the best place for Lewis and me. "

The University's program and teaching hospital is well known nationwide. The school ranked third in the nation for best veterinary schools this year and has been among the top three for two decades, as ranked by News & World Report.

"I've used them for 30 years from time to time." No complaints. "That's right," said Ron Hinds, who lives in Elizabeth and is a treasurer for the alpaca association , "I know Cody, the teeny tiny alpaca, she was just around the country."

Last fiscal year, which ended June 30, the university program treated 46,984 patients. The majority were dogs (31,677) and then horses (6,637). There were also llamas and alpacas, said Tim Hackett, a CSU professor of emergency and critical care medicine and a past medical director of the teaching hospital.

There were days when we in the Fort Collins airport for people in their animals for treatment of heart disease or cancer, "Hackett said.

Because it's a training hospital, the CSU facility takes in all sorts of creatures, though it specializes in "natural-born diseases, "like cancer or heart disease in companion animals, he said. The work thus can have an impact on human treatment, such as ailments like osteosarcoma, a bone cancer commonly found in large-breed dogs. It's less common in humans but behaves the same way, he said.

"The treatment used to amputation, but by being able to save the leg by transplanting bone, we are able to provide some level of control over the disease and they'll keep the leg, "he said.

But what is common in llamas and alpacas are tooth abscesses, said Signe Balch, a Larkspur veterinarian who treats the infection in camelids weekly.

"It happens because it's not due to surgery." You said, "You're going to have that slack and in a decent amount of time."

Sometimes the tooth falls out, which can solve the problem. Most of the time, the llama does not end up in surgery, partly because of the painfulness.

"These guys, llamas and alpacas, for whatever reason function, can not go undiagnosed "Balch said. "We have a lot of questions and a few answers."

Huelsmeyer-Sinay said she was nervous before his surgery.

She said she also spends this much on an animal – she has 14 other llamas back in Montana. And when they've learned that the bill would be in the $ 4,000 range, As of 9:30 p.m. Lewis' surgery hit $$ 3,813.

The tooth operation sounded dreadful. Because a llama's mouth is long, much like a horse's, it's difficult to do a dental work. Doctors can not tell Lewis, "Open your mouth and say ahhh."

Instead, they drilled a hole in his jaw from the outside to get the infection and then started pulling teeth. Two of his back molars on the right jaw were pulled. A third tooth on the upper left so what yanked.

After the four-hour operation, Lewis is expected to recover and go back to biting grass with his incisors, regurgitating the food and continue chewing it again

Hülsmeyer-Sinay is astounded by the generosity of strangers. But costs are likely to be greater. She does not mind the extra cost, she said.

"It's funny you should ask that." I just got two implants in my own mouth, "she said. "No, he'll be OK."

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